Great Recurring Character On TV Shows

Colonel Flagg on MASH.

Sigfried and Stocker on Get Smart.

Evelyn Harper on 2 1/2 Men. She makes you understand how Charlie & Allen got to be the way they are.

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Bewitched had some of the greatest: Aunt Clara, Uncle Arthur, Maurice, Dr. Bombay, various other aunts (usually when Agnes Moorehead was evidently unavailable), Cousin Serena, Queen Hepzibah, Esmerelda.

Don’t forget Mrs. Kravitz, the nosy neighbor. The second Gladys was a little annoying (more than the character was supposed to be), but the original was one of the funniest characters of the show.
Also from Cheers - Carla’s loathsome ex-husband Nick and his smart-as-a-paperweight second wife Loretta.

And on Northern Exposure - I know Marilyn & Ruthanne were originally just recurring characters. I can’t remember if they ever got elevated to regular status (i.e. actors’ names in the opening credits, on every episode). Does anyone else remember?
Has anybody mentioned Neeeewwwwman(!) yet?

I wouldn’t call her a recurring character … she’s a regular, in every episode (or close thereto).

Eddie Haskell on Leave It to Beaver

Janice on Cheers

Many of the recurring suspects and gang members on Hill Street Blues

Mrs. Hufnagel on St. Elsewhere

Some characters, although they may have appeared in almost every episode were technically only recurring roles. Martin Landau did 76 episodes of Mission Impossible but never signed a contract and was always a “special guest star.” Ann Morgan Guilbert freely admitted that she earned much more as a per show character on The Dick Van Dyke Show than she could have negotiated had she agreed to be the 6th regular.

Janice on Friends. OH–MY–GOD

Newman on Seinfeld

I don’t think she counts by the rules of the OP, as she appears in the opening credits.

I’m going to go with Arnold the Pig from “Green Acres”.

Lillith on Cheers. Granted for awhile she was practically a regular cast member, but she was always such a pinched person, I thought she was really funny.

Mickey, too. Great character.

Bernice on Designing Women.

Black man, black man, black man.

O’Brien on ST:TNG (before he became a regular) Between one season and the next, we even tried to second guess his first name. We determined that ‘Potatoes’ was the most likely candidate.

Lord John Marbury on The West Wing.

On the serious side, NSA Nancy McNally, EdAndLarry (always together, one word), CotJC Fitzwallace and mystery woman/administrative assistant Margaret Hooper on The West Wing.

You are correct, sir. They didn’t get their names in the opening credits until Season 2.

The best was Larry Miller who played a guy who killed his wife in one of the early “Law and Order” episodes, reprised the role a few years later, and then later appeared in the same show as himself!

I’m wondering if there should be a thread about people who have portrayed both a character and themselves in the same series.

In addition to Adam, I always liked when Bernard (Chris’ half-brother) and Leonard (the shaman who was training Ed) made appearances.

I also found her *incredibly *sexy. Or am I saying too much?

Garak, Weyoun, Dukat, and Winn from Deep Space Nine, just to name a few.

The Simpsons has had many recurring characters over the 2 decades it’s been on, but I think the best and most significant have to be Robert Terwilliger (aka Sideshow Bob), Lionel Hutz, Jeff Albertson (aka Comic Book Guy) and Troy McClure.

John Astin as Harry’s father on “Night Court”.

I always liked how Dukat basically got reinvented every season so he could continue to be a villian as the show went on. Another re-occuring character I liked from that show was Morn (the alien usually seen sitting in Quarks), since he strattled the line being just an extra and a minor reoccurring character.